‘Real concern’ for ‘impoverished’ North Koreans as COVID-19 spreads like ‘wildfire’

North Korea’s lack of access to basic healthcare is a “real concern” as COVID-19 spreads through a country where only wealthy Pyongyang elites can obtain treatment, The Washington Post’s Michelle Ye Hee Lee says.

It comes as North Korea has reported overnight more than 230,000 suspected cases of COVID-19 and a further six deaths.

Leader Kim Jong Un has accused health officials of “immaturity” and “slackness” in containing the outbreak.

Ms Ye Hee Lee said the nation has been “very determined” to keep COVID out to prevent an outbreak.

“It has been worried that it could spread like rapid wildfire throughout the country which it seems to be doing now,”Ms Ye Hee Lee told Sky News Australia.

“The real concern in North Korea is the lack of infrastructure and access to medicine and access to healthcare.

“Other than the capital city of Pyongyang, where it’s really the most elite and wealthiest residents, the rest of the country is quite impoverished and they don’t have adequate access to healthcare.”

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